Minister Lee assembles task force to address indexation of AOV/AWW

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Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Labour Emil Lee

 

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The lack of the indexation of the 2019 AOV/AWW amounts has the direct attention of the Minister of VSA, Emil Lee. The Ministry of VSA will be assembling a task force to investigate the possibilities of adapting the 2019 AOV/AWW pension amounts in a way that is both socially acceptable and fits within the confines of the law.

Representatives of the St. Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform and St. Maarten Consumers Coalition will be invited by the Ministry to discuss the concerns. The SZV, as the designated executing agency of the AOV/AWW will be involved in the task force to ensure the solutions found are practical and feasible in execution.

“We cannot ignore the post-Irma conditions of many of our residents, especially our pensioners. Without looking at too much data, one knows that many of our vulnerable groups are experiencing the economic and social effects that are still lingering. The matter will be approached from social, legal and execution angles to ensure a workable solution that does justice to the pensioners involved and complies with the intention of the AOV/AWW laws.”  Emil Lee, Minister of VSA

The indexation is calculated annually by Government, based on the consumer price index (CPI) increase in the previous year, for the year 2019 this would be over the period between August 2017 and August 2018. Government’s statistics department STAT was not able to provide an official CPI for that exact period, as the department was in the process of changing their measurement methodology during 2018.

In the absence of the CPI number the law requires that a decision be made on the new AOV/AWW amount. For 2019, the decision was made not to apply indexation. This decision will be re-visited by the Ministry of VSA with the assembling of the task force.

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